|By Raj Giri||August 06, 2012 | Comments|
Source: WNS PodcastThe WNS Podcast recently interviewed "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, who discussed not winning the WWF Championship, his sons in wrestling and the younger talent of today. Here are some highlights:
On his thoughts about the younger talent of today missing out on the territory system no longer being around: Absolutely. Wrestling is an art form. Wrestling is sports entertainment for sure. But to be really good at what we do you have to be both an athlete and an entertainer. And actually, if you're going to be lacking in one, then be more of an entertainer and less of an athlete. There's a lot of guys that made big money in wrestling because they just projected such a realistic character. And they weren't necessarily great athletes. Junkyard Dog played football, Junkyard Dog the wrestler, mechanically in the ring he was just not that good. His gift was, unbelievable work on the mic. He had charisma coming out of his ears. Dusty Rhodes was a great athlete. Actually, he was a baseball player as well. He played football but he played baseball. That was his number one sport. He wasn't always heavyset like he is. But Dusty Rhodes, The American Dream he just gets charisma. But wrestling is an acquired skill. We've learned to wrestle by getting in the ring every night in front of a live crowd and just doing it. You learn the fundamentals, you learn the basics. You learn how to fall you learn how to take certain bumps. Basic bumps, a bodyslam an armdrag, hiptoss, headlock takeover. You learn those things and then you progress. But you learn from watching other guys, you learn from doing it.
The difference is, when I broke into the business in 1975 I might have been the opening match every night but the guy across the ring might have been a 10-12 year veteran. What happened was, when Vince got so big and wrestling exploded and all the territories died, along with it, died the breeding ground. And now, over a period of time, very slowly one generation goes away and the next generation goes away. Realistically, my generation is the last really solid generation of wrestlers that wrestled as the art form that it should be. It's not the talent's fault. You can't blame them for something they never had the opportunity to do. When I go talk to these guys in the indys I ask how long they've been wrestling and how many matches they've had and a lot of them tell me they wrestle as a hobby. They have a regular job and maybe one match on the weekend. I said there's four weekends in a month. At the most they're telling me they've wrestled 8 times a month. I told them I've wrestled 8 times a week. Every week. And there's 365 days in the year. And I can guarantee you 325 of them I was wrestling. We didn't have days off. Days off were when we wrestled in the town we actually live because we wrestled the circuit and we'd go back to the towns on a weekly basis. And at night after the show was over, we weren't out having a grand ol' time. We were in a car driving and talking about what we can do better and how did it work and what can we do next week to get those people to buy another ticket.
That's what wrestling is. It's a soap opera. And you want to entice the people to come back each and every week. When you run a show once a month, or once a year it's not too hard to entertain the people. But when you're trying to entertain people like a tv show, when you're trying to get those people to come back and watch you each and every week then that takes some skill and some effort. And it makes you think well that's what's missing from wrestling today. And when I grew up in this business, when I started out, I never had a guaranteed money contract until I went to WCW. The contracts we initially signed in WWE weren't like that. It was like okay you're going to work for us for a period of 3-4 years. The initial contracts probably protected the company more than they protected us. But your only guarantee was that you were going to have the opportunity.
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